Playing A Little Pepper

The Rays have now blown five 9th inning leads after blowing just two 9th inning leads in 2012. The Rays have also lost 8 games in which they held the lead in the 7th inning or later. If they held all of those leads, they would have the best record in baseball at 32-16, two games in front of the Yankees. Instead, the Rays are 24-24, 6 games behind the Yankees.

Game Graph

[Will be up at game time]

Source: FanGraphs


  1. Flash Jennings, CF
  2. Ryan Roberts, 2B
  3. Evan Longoria, 3B
  4. Ben Zobrist, DH
  5. Sean Rodriguez, LF
  6. Yunel Escobar, SS
  7. James Loney, 1B
  8. Jose Lobaton, C
  9. Sam Fuld, RF
  10. Alex Cobb, SP




  1. Ken says:

    Fuld in RF, are you freakin’ kidding me?

    • Dave L says:

      If you want to know the rationale Fuld is 2 for 5 vs Sabathia with a double 3 walks and 2 k’s. for a 1.300 OPS

      Matt Joyce is 1 for 6 with 5 k’s (bench). Kelly could have a been a pausible alternative to going 5 for 15 with 5 k’s with no walks ).667 OPS

      But go ahead and root hard for Fuld to fail today, Don-style so you can come back later and tell us how much smarter than Maddon you are.

      • Ken says:

        Sample sample, small mind Dave. I’m not a stats fan like you and JoMa. I hope Fuld goes 3-4. Your problem is you think Maddon’s a genius when we win but don’t hold him accountable when we lose.
        Talk to me about baseball when you stop being such a pouting homer and start looking at the game objectively.

        • Mr.Smith 1980 says:

          To be fair, you don’t really look at the game objectively either. Anyone who has a favorite team or a team that they’ve followed more than any other is no longer capable of being truly objective. Fact.

          • Ken says:

            Agreed Mr. Smith. I want the Rays to go undefeated every year. I go to 40-50 games a year and give away the balance of my tickets to youth groups. Also go to one series each ay NY, Boston, and Baltimore. Yup, big fan but think I’m able to watch a game with some level of detachment. I didn’t get on the bandwagon in 2008 like many who respond.
            Losses hurt. Losses that can be avoided hurt more.
            I admit to never being a Maddon fan. He is the only manager I’ve seen that can over/under manage a game at the same time.

        • Dave L says:

          Ken I feel sorry for you honestly. Have you ever rooted for a losing team? A real team that loses more games than they win? You sound very spoiled. When did you start rooting for the Rays?

        • Dave L says:

          Did the explanation scare you with facts? Sorry its so painful to deal with logic when you live on emotion.

          • Ken says:

            Again, for the record, 1998. What facts are you referring to? You haven’t posted a fact other than Fuld’s line against CC. What about Rodney tipping pitches? Do you have an opinion? What about the state of the bullpen? Do you have an opinion? Do you even go to any games?
            Again, fact, your a moron.

          • Dave L says:

            The fact of past matchups. It just starts there. I dont have access to nor pretend to understand the other metrics the Rays use. I am just trying to give you a simplistic glimpse into why starting Lefty Fuld vs Lefty CC is not sheer madness as you suggest.

            Seeing as your only staunch defender is Don I would rethink my premises if I were you.

            I have no opinion nor insight into whether or not Rodney is tipping pitches thats why I am silent. I have heard you assert it. I have addressed the bulllpen many times.

  2. Rob says:

    I think the Rays would be 4 games in front of the Yankees because two of those losses were against them, so they would have 2 more losses on the books if we won those.

  3. Mr.Smith 1980 says:

    So let’s choose to be optimistic for a minute and assume that the Rays cut those blown leads in half for the next 48… that would put them at around 50-46 through 96 games …and then all they’d have to do is go 40 and 26 through the last 66 games in order to reach 90 wins. Sound easy enough to me (ugh).

  4. Ken says:

    Attaboy SRod, prove me wrong next AB too!

  5. Ken says:

    Cobb=Shields. Nice game.

    • OriginalTom says:


      I do not want to beat a dead horse and if you hava had enough of this thread I understand. I want to go back to the study you linked to regarding relief pitchers,performance in the World Series. It is flawed, in my opinion, because the results are alread known. I think it would have been a better study if the author had compared the 2 WS participants closers prior to the series and than studied how the respective teams and closers had performed in the series. though, even then it is a mighty small sample size.

      On a related note, you have been critical of Maddon for sticking with Rodney to long, when would you have removed him from the closer’s role?

      • Ken says:

        Tom, my point in posting that link was merely to show that teams with the most efficient closers win more games than those who don’t. Agreed it’s a small and maybe skewed sample size but look at the names. Rivera, Wetteland and the rest were tough closers in any given year and helped their teams get to the Series. I don’t care whether the save stat is truly relevant or not. I do care about having a pitcher on my squad that can come in and shut down the opponent at the end of a tight game.
        As for Maddon/Rodney, I gotta believe there was concern the day Rodney reported to camp. There was a lot of press about his being overused and tipping his pitches. His bullpen sessions were closed to the press and fans at first. Tony Pena said during spring training that he noticed the pitch tipping. I can’t say when Maddon should have pulled him but I will say that Maddon didn’t seem to have a backup plan. The way the pen has performed so far (minus Peralta) maybe there wasn’t a feasible option he liked. Jim Johnson of the Orioles just blew save # 5. Let’s see what Showalter does.
        Today was a big win. On to the Marlins.

        • OriginalTom says:

          The Marlins series is definetly a great chance to gain some ground. The stat about blowing 8 leads sure drives home the point about the bullpen needing to perform better.

    • Dave L says:

      Are you from Sarasota Ken?

      • Ken says:

        Sorry Donny Boy, born and bred St. Pete. Spent every summer in the 50′s in New York. The difference between us you obviously don’t read posts before you respond. Been a Rays fan since they opened and have the season ticket stubs to prove it. Section 205, row C, stop by and I’ll buy you a beer.
        Another difference might be that you have failed to answer any question I have asked you.
        You are indeed a moron.

  6. Don says:

    With Moore/ Cobb pitching Maddon can do anything with the lineup and come out smelling like a manager…With Noname, Price, Helly he comes out smelling like Maddon….IF, IF, IF the Rays would have won 16 more games they would be in 1st…what does that BS mean?

  7. Dave L says:

    Ken the difference between you + Don and me is the for you guys familiarity breeds contempt. For me im a different kind of fan. When my team is successful I try to understand why then I appreciate it. I have loved baseball since the 60′s when i went to my first game.

    With you and Don its different. You guys think you are smarter than the manager and GM. Even when they have success you expect more.

    I am happy with a winning Rays team on a low budget. You two think you are smarter than the manager and GM and love to play that game.

    Thats the difference between us

    • Bill says:

      Dave –

      The problem you’re having is that you’re arguing with the simplest form of sports fan – the true second guessers. These simpletons want to take everything that’s good about the Rays but throw out Maddon, or maybe just throw out the 50-90% of Maddon that they don’t like. They don’t realize that you take it all or you substantially change what the Rays are. Maddon is a key component of a complex system and he has a key role to play in that success. Yeah, he’ll make some bad decisions. Yeah, he’ll stick with a guy too long many times – at both the game and season levels. But those same aspects are part of what makes him able to get what he got out of Rodney last year, or .350ish out of Loney so far, or what he got out of Kep last year. You can’t change single aspects of a man, without changing the whole man. And this man is a key part of a complex system that is the Rays. Get frustrated now and then, sure. But if you’re a true fan, you’ll accept it as part of what makes the Rays who they are. I’d suggest that these geniuses who are so freaking smart go read a book or two on complexity theory or complex systems, but I’m sure it would be too elementary for these people who are so much smarter than Friedman and Maddon.

      • Ken says:

        Bill, please share with me your vitae? Really, complexity theory as it relates to baseball?
        Definition: Set of concepts that attempts to explain complex phenomenon not explainable by traditional (mechanistic) theories. It integrates ideas derived from chaos theory, cognitive psychology, computer science, evolutionary biology, general systems theory, fuzzy logic, information theory, and other related fields to deal with the natural and artificial systems as they are, and not by simplifying them (breaking them down into their constituent parts). It recognizes that complex behavior emerges from a few simple rules, and that all complex systems are networks of many interdependent parts which interact according to those rules.
        I never realized the Rays management team was so erudite.
        Being a dumb ass myself, MA in Philosophy and English Lit., please explain to me why this obviously talented group can’t figure out a way to improve attendance? Or, if I may ask, develop position players? Certainly, they have the game down to a science as you so emphatically have pointed out, so what gives?

        • Bill says:

          If you’re so brilliant you wouldn’t need me to explain to you why human behavior is the ultimate example of a complex system. Multiple humans behaving on a team, with one or a few leaders trying to motivate the best possible performance is as complex a system as you can define.

          Wooo!!!! MA in phlisophy and English Lit!!! Truly analytical domains! Clearly you can google definitions and use big words. But apparently you’re limited in abstracting that definition into a practical application of behavior and leadership. If you could you would realize I was not applying complexity theory to baseball. I was applying it to people and leadership. I can throw around my degrees if you want. But your simpleton approach of nit picking Maddon’s behaviors after losses has proven your limited analytical abilities. I don’t have to prove anything else.

          And since you’re so good at web searching why don’t you look a little deeper and see if you can find some branches of study that apply complexity theory to leadership ? You’ll find them just past John Donne’s, “The Canonization” and before “The Wind at the Door”, by William Barnes.

          And once you’ve done all that, and we’re done comparing brain pans, perhaps it might occur to you that all I was saying was that you can’t nit pick what you don’t like about a complex system away. You have to accept it all or you change the entire system, at which point you might as well go be a Yankee fan.

          For the record, B.S. in Computer Science with minor in Physics. B.S. in Mathematics 12 months later with a statistics focus. No M.A. because I just wanted practical, useful knowledge.

          Baseball qualifications, which are irrelevant here, but just for fun…. Drafted out of high school by Reds in 27th round. Decided an education was better than $1000 signing bonus and $233/wk. Played two plus years of D1 baseball,which included appearances to two NCAA regionals, before shoulder issues ended my playing days. Got the degrees listed above while playing 60ish games in Spring semesters and 10 plus development games vs. local schools in fall development leagues.

          Did I pee far enough for you, Ken ?

    • Mr.Smith 1980 says:

      You guys are starting to sound like you’re in 10th grade. This isn’t a pissing match.
      Because one has been a fan for 40 years it does not make them a better fan than someone who has been a fan for 20.
      Because on holds a particular degree or considers themselves to be at a higher level of intelligence it does not make you a better fan/contributor.

      Let your posts speak for themselves, let’s all root or the Rays with vim and vigor but not be brought down to a lower level of discourse. To argue baseball stats and plays and news but not who’s dad is going to beat up someone else’s because he’s a better fan, because he used to go to Fenway and Yankee stadium and root for the Rays back in 1963 when men were men and everyone smoked cigarettes (yes, I am aware that the Rays weren’t a team in ’63- it’s called hyperbole).

      I did not follow baseball at all 12 years ago, yet I am an informed and knowledgeable fan.
      I have several degrees and am a nationally published author, but neither makes me a better fan than someone who dropped out of 8th grade.

      I only get to go to a handful of games each year, but watch them all…. every single one (much to my wife’s chagrin) on TV/DVR… neither one makes me a better/lesser fan than someone who attends every game or watches whenever they get the chance.

      RI needs to be a place where like-minded people can get together to discuss/debate their beloved Rays- not a place where people come to compare the size of their packages.

      Rise up.

      • Bill says:

        The simple fact is some of us are getting sick of a couple of individuals who just want to come on here after every loss and rip everything Rays apart. I used to playfully try to point at Don’s particular brand of lunacy. So did you. But now it’s spreading and we can’t have the type of dialog you suggest without this over the top stuff showing up. What you see above and in a few other recent posts are the result of people getting sick of it. I’ve actually visited the site less frequently because of it. I used to come here after losses looking for insightful analysis from other fans. Now I don’t want to visit after a loss because of the non-trivial amount of ” “insultful anal-ysis” ( my made up term). Some venting needs to occur. I get it. I do it too. And often, when I do, another fan chimes in with a brighter perspective or interesting analysis. But lately that’s overshadowed by a couple of Yankees fans in disguise.

        If I want to see insults thrown around with no constructive value, I’ll just hang out on the general comments section and not come to what is supposed to be a site for Rays fans.

        By the way, thanks for the compliment. I would have said we were acting out much lower than 10th grade. More like 3rd.

        • Mr.Smith 1980 says:

          That’s exactly why I stopped engaging Don. i realized that I was becoming part of the problem.
          We informed (or semi-informed) fans can bring a paradigm shift and bring these boards back to their former glory…

  8. Ken says:

    I stand humbly before the RI readers with pee on my feet. I vow never again to criticize the Holy Trinity (Sternburg, Friedman, Maddon) as doing so appears to be a mortal sin. Allah be praised.

  9. Don says:

    Ken, See the problem of dealing with the Dave L. or Mr Smiths ect. they are the type of Fans that go to a golf tournament and follow the guy in 29th Place because he is from their home town or they use to date his girlfriend, they don’t care who is winning the tournament or really don’t know the difference in the ability of the players..
    They are going to Back Maddon regardless of his (stupid) moves and back players like Upton & Pena, Noname Because they don’t recognize the difference, they are their home town “Boys”….don’t try to convince them GOOD baseball is better…they don’t want to hear it……too bad…they do from ME….

    • Bill says:

      You are absolutely correct, Don. And please include me explicitly in that list of people who are loyal fans regardless of who is winning. I thank you on behalf of those mentioned for the recognition.

      Kudos to you for being man enough to admit that your choices run in different direction. You’ve taken your first step towards a cure! I’m proud of you!

  10. Dave L says:

    Yes Don I am a total homer when it comes to they Rays. Just like Bill.

    I am 51 and rooted for a dozen different teams in the two main places I lived.

    Most of them were horrible teams with no hope of competing. In the 60′s and 70′s you only had your local teams. There was no access to others media wise.

    I would say 80%+ of the seasons i rooted for in baseball, football and basketball were losing ones.

    So when I get a good one I jump on it with both feet.

    Maddon is the best manager/coach of any baseball team I have followed and he is an innovator as well. Friedman is the best GM dollar for dollar I have ever seen and he is trying to do something that is sustainable at a low revenue stream.

    You and Ken never got it and never will.

    • Burn H. says:

      Some people are, (the glass is half empty) type people. I would rather be (the glass is half full) and look for a sunny side of the game. As (Wendy) from the commercial hunts for a bright spot, (Did you get hit by a pitch?), let’s realize that being negative won’t make it better. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid…

    • Don says:

      What do you mean “never got it” I just nailed you to a tee with my above Post, and you just repeated it exactly……Losers like Losers and I will NEVER be able to do that…….

      • Bill says:

        Actually, losers try to follow winners because they are weak. Winners forge their own path. So what exactly are you saying regarding your status as a Rays fan?

  11. Mr.Smith 1980 says:

    It is a twisted world when fans are criticized (by other fans nonetheless) for wanting their team to excel and for not becoming turn-cloaks when things are going worse than expected.

    I am a Nascar fan- I am a Dale Jr. fan. He is obviously no where near as good a racer as he seemed to be early in his career- he is basically winning 1 race every 2-3 years. I suppose, according to certain people’s logic, that I should stop focusing on my favorite driver and start paying more attention to Jimmy Johnson. No?

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